The New FA Football Coaching Qualifications
The biggest shakeup in FA football coaching qualifications in over a decade is here with FA Level 1 and FA Level 2 replaced by the new Introduction to Football Coaching and UEFA C Licence.
First announced ahead of the 2020-21 season, the changes were decided upon in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on grassroots football.
The new qualifications have been gradually introduced since FA Education took over responsibility for coaching courses in March 2021.
Introduction to Football Coaching replaced FA Level 1 in 2021 and FA Level 2 is now no longer running; the UEFA C Licence will be introduced in 2022 in its place.
Here is everything we know so far about the new qualifications, the differences compared to the old ones and what it means for football coaching and development in England.
Why have the FA made changes to their coaching qualifications?
There are several reasons as to why the FA have replaced Level 1 and Level 2 with new qualifications but they all stem from the same desire, as laid out in a letter from Head of Education Lucy Pearson – to simplify and modernise the process of becoming a football coach.
Lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic have played a major role in the FA’s thinking. Even before lockdown, research was showing that the appetite for self-service learning was growing.
People want to access courses at a time that suits them, be that at 8 pm, during their lunch break at work or on a Sunday afternoon.
When the country then had to adapt to remote working, it became clear that technology could allow digital learning to take place in industries that had previously been reluctant to embrace such change.
Time has also become more precious because of lockdowns. People no longer want to spend an hour travelling to a venue, another an hour in a lesson, followed by an hour driving home. Not when self-learning can allow all of that to take place in 30 minutes over the internet from the comfort of their own home.
If the FA can get more coaches into football by making qualifications more accessible through digital means, then it is understandable for them to seek that opportunity by moving online. Especially at a time when the pandemic has made people more susceptible to career changes.
Anyone considering a move into football coaching as a full-time profession has to start with their FA Qualifications. The easier qualifications are to gain for prospective coaches, the greater the number who sign up and the better position grassroots football finds itself.
One of the other major considerations was – sadly – money. Grassroots football was hit hard by the pandemic with the FA’s workforce slimming down significantly.
New ways, therefore, had to be found to support coaches and teachers – and one of the most obvious was to place greater emphasis on online learning to make better use of time.
Introduction to Football Coaching replaces FA Level 1
The major difference between the new Introduction to Football Coaching and the old FA Level 1 Coaching Badge is the way the course is taught.
At its most basic level, FA Level 1 used to entail learning coaching drills and putting them into practice in sessions. It was time-consuming and, depending on where the nearest course was run, could involve significant travelling. That was enough to put a lot of prospective coaches off.
Introduction to Coaching instead blends weekly webinars, e-learning, community support and a range of resources to provide individuals with the skills to coach players of all ages. The course takes only four weeks to complete.
By offering such a range of resources, coaches can pick and choose which learning methods work best for them. This creates a qualification more tailored to the individual than was ever possible with FA Level 1.
Likewise, the community support available through Introduction to Football Coaching outstrips anything on offer under the old qualifications.
Coaches can now interact and connect with numerous like-minded people going through the same process via the online community, rather than a handful on a physical FA Level 1 course.
The most important elements of the Introduction to Football though are the six online learning modules and the three webinars. The webinars involve coach developers sharing their knowledge and experiences on a weekly basis.
The learning modules total six hours work and can be done in a coach’s own time. Completing one module will unlock the next. In the end, there is a short online assessment.
Pass and that and the Introduction to Coaching is complete. It is a much more straightforward way to take the first step towards a football coaching career.
UEFA C Licence replaces FA Level 2
UEFA launched their new C Diploma in 2021, offering grassroots coaches the opportunity to gain a Europe-wide recognised qualification below the renowned UEFA B, UEFA A and UEFA Pro.
It will replace FA Level 2 in England in 2022 and although the FA are yet to release too many details about the new qualification, we do know it is set to blend the e-learning concept of Introduction to Football with mentoring and on-the-pitch development.
Coaches will be encouraged to build and shape their own philosophy on a course which, according to UEFA when the diploma was announced, takes place over a minimum of 60 hours.
We Make Footballers supporting coaches through their qualifications
We Make Footballers have an along-standing commitment to helping new football coaches gain their FA Level 1 and FA Level 2 coaching badges.
That has continued since the FA brought in the Introduction to Coaching and will be the case when UEFA C launches in 2022.
In addition, We Make Footballers also provide their own in-house qualifications which are widely respected in the coaching community.
Coaches who combine We Make Footballers with the new FA football coaching qualifications are therefore in the best possible position to develop their coaching career.
If you are interested in finding out how We Make Footballers can help start your coaching qualifications journey and career in football, then head on over to our website where you can apply to join us as a coach.